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Ceasefire declared after fierce fighting in South Sudan

AFP/REUTERS
Published : Jul 12, 2016, 7:00 am IST
Updated : Jul 12, 2016, 7:00 am IST

South Sudan’s President ordered a ceasefire Monday after a new day of heavy fighting in the capital Juba that sent thousands of people fleeing and threatened a return to civil war.

South Sudan’s President ordered a ceasefire Monday after a new day of heavy fighting in the capital Juba that sent thousands of people fleeing and threatened a return to civil war.

President Salva Kiir’s ceasefire order Monday evening raised hopes of an end to four days of deadly fighting between the army and ex-rebels.

“The President has reiterated his commitment to the continued implementation of the [peace] agreement in letter and spirit, and thus issues an order of cessation of hostilities with immediate effect,” information minister Michael Makuei said on state television at 6.00 pm local time.

There was no immediate response from rebel leader turned vice-president Riek Machar whose forces have been battling Kiir’s soldiers on and off since Friday evening.

The United Nations had expressed deep alarm over days of violence between the army and ex-rebels, which has left several hundred people dead and threatens the young nation’s shaky peace.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said “more than 7,000 people” had sought shelter at two compounds in Juba while fighting was also reported in the south-eastern town of Torit where thousands fled to a UN base.

Eight people have been killed and 67 injured at the UN’s so-called “Protection of Civilian” sites in Juba since Sunday.

Meanwhile, Japan Mon-day ordered three C-130 military transport planes to an airbase in east Africa to prepare to evacuate Japan-ese trapped by fighting in Juba.

“We want to have the aircraft on standby as soon as possible to conduct any evacuation,” Japan’s minister of defence Gen Nakatani said after issuing the order.

Location: Sudan, Bahr al-Jabal, Juba